The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the non-governmental industry organization Interferry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the two Organizationsí intent to work together towards enhancing the safety of non-Convention ferries by collaborating on related capacity-building activities within developing countries. Under the agreement, the two Organizations will work closely with interested parties such as Bangladesh, which has been selected as a pilot country for the Organizationsí work, with the aim of identifying potential solutions to increasing ferry safety. It is of crucial importance to make a progress in a sector which has seen a number of tragic accidents with considerable loss of life in recent years.
The two Organizations have agreed to share certain costs and IMO will seek financial support from governments and multilateral funding organizations. Interferry will reach out to private sector ferry operators and its own members, as well as other international private sector organizations, to inform them of the initiative and seek their support, as well as seeking the assistance of private sector ferry operators in the pilot country itself. The two Organizations will also collaborate on the preparation of materials and documentation to support the operation of a national working group in the pilot country which will seek to involve all stakeholders in improving ferry safety.
At this stage, three pilot projects are being anticipated in different parts of Bangladesh, each site selected to focus on a particular issue. Following the outcome of this first stage the next phase is anticipated to be a larger Government-approved project within Bangladesh looking at issues such as overcrowding; terminal management, vessel design and management, passenger-carrying arrangements, stowage, hazardous weather, crew training and certification systems as well as other issues raised by the working group. The lessons learnt from this project will serve as a model for projects in other countries needing to address ferry safety.